Since the pandemic, more than 42% of respondents underwent some sort of anxiety and depression, a survey said. These feelings affect their productivity at work. It is detrimental to the growth of a business, no matter which industry it belongs to. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an earlier report that 80% of people who experienced depression admitted it affected their work.
However, unlike physical illnesses, depression and anxiety often go undetected for months and even years. Mental health problems are more challenging to diagnose because the people themselves don’t recognize the signs. But in the workplace, employers can no longer ignore the impact of mental health problems.
Create a Culture That Supports Mental Health
Why are people getting depressed about their work? Is it because of the stability of tenure? Is it because their bosses are micromanaging them? Do they have enough resources to do their jobs? Does the company compensate them enough? The best way to tackle the problems of mental health in the workplace is to give the employees purposeful work. They should understand that they are valuable to the company. They should receive the support they need from the company that will enable them to do their work meaningfully.
One of the many things that people don’t understand about mental health problems is that it often starts from the simplest of things. Mental health issues don’t wash over a person suddenly. It’s a slow and often painful process that begins with the questions over the meanings of their lives. People with mental health problems often go through existential crises.
Offer Training Programs
Companies should begin offering training programs for managers. The program will train managers to deal with staff living with mental health problems. There are seasonal courses for psychotherapists that can be a perfect fit for your managers and supervisors. Even business owners should begin attending training programs. These will help them better understand the mental health problems their employees are facing.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to offering support to employees with mental health problems. Some people are indeed more resilient when it comes to handling their mental well-being. But it is also true that many people need help. Being a good manager involves understanding the differences among your employees’ complex personalities.
For many years, mental health topics are taboo. People don’t talk about them. Employers don’t even give them a second thought. It wasn’t until a few years ago when people began talking about the importance of knowing how to reach out and seek help for one’s mental health problems. Employers should increase awareness in the workplace by encouraging people to speak about their issues.
DuPont, for example, started an educational program that encourages employees to reach out to their peers who appear to be suffering from depression. The company even produced a five-minute video that teaches employees the right questions to ask. It opened the doors for employees with mental health problems to seek help.
Employ Flexible Working Hours
Employees suffer from mental health problems primarily due to pressure from work and their personal lives. While employers don’t have control over an employee’s personal life, they at least have some control over how their workers feel while in the office. At best, employers can offer flexible working hours because it will give them better control of their time. This will allow them to attend to their mental health issues by going to their therapy sessions and medical appointments.
But what most employers don’t realize is that it’s also important that employees are allowed to deal with their personal problems. A flexible working setup will give them that opportunity. But to ensure that such a setup will not get abused, it’s also important that employers set daily measurable goals.
Employers need to be proactive in identifying employees suffering from mental health problems. Regularly conduct engagement surveys. These surveys are designed to determine how engaged employees are with their work and colleagues. Engagement is the best measure of how positive employees are feeling in the workplace. The more engaged your employees are, the more they are positive and enthusiastic. All of these will create a positive outlook on life.
It is more important than ever to care about your employees’ mental health. At this time, people are suffering from anxiety, depression, mental breakdowns, and burnout because of the uncertainties brought by the pandemic. Companies that previously invested in ensuring their employees’ mental health will better survive the impact of the pandemic.